Governor Signs Bill Allowing Cities To Use Housing Funds To Help Homeless

From the Association of California Cities-Orange County:

The Association of California Cities- Orange County (ACC-OC) – the region’s leading public policy, strategy, education and advocacy group – is excited to announce that Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 346. The measure authorizes redevelopment “successor” agencies to use portions of their existing affordable housing funds for the development of homelessness services, transitional housing, or emergency housing services.

The impetus for the enterprise began in the City of La Habra, and Mayor Rose Espinoza emphasized the importance of the initiative. “Homelessness is an issue that affects every community in California. The City of La Habra has long been known as ‘A Caring Community,’ and to that end, our goal is to ensure our homeless residents have access to housing and social services that can improve the quality of their lives,” she said. The final bill, nearly a year in the making was authored by Assemblymembers Tom Daly (D – Anaheim) and William Brough (R – Dana Point), and strongly endorsed and sponsored by the ACC-OC.

“This is powerful and impactful legislation for the cities of California,” said Heather Stratman, CEO of the Association of California Cities-Orange County. “This bill allows municipalities to work with their contiguous neighboring cities, as well as their respective counties to identify and build affordable housing units.”

In shepherding the proposal through the legislature and onto the Governor’s desk for his signature, the ACC-OC produced a resounding legislative victory for cities across the state, in only the organization’s second sponsored bill endeavor. And the success proves that creative approaches to offering cities flexibility can be achieved in a bi-partisan effort.

AB 346 originated within Orange County, however its reach will now affect all of California. “The homeless population in Orange County is near 4,500 people, and our cities do not have the funds to provide adequate services and housing relief,” said Brough. “With AB 346, we are simply providing cities with a commonsense solution to best help their communities.”

Finalizing AB 346 demonstrates the commitment of ACC-OC to the local, regional and state level work necessary to mitigate homelessness. “Without question homelessness is a major public policy issue that is a priority for the ACC-OC,” said Stratman. “The bill also highlights one of the cornerstones of the Association, delivering local control of governance, spending and regulatory issues to municipalities and communities.”

As municipalities continue to develop strategies and initiatives to address homelessness, Daly commented that, “California cities have fewer financial resources to use for addressing a wide range of local housing needs. Unfortunately, current law also restricts how cities can use what little revenues they have available for such purposes. AB 346 will give them some additional flexibility and local control over how those funds are best spent to address specific needs in their communities.”

AB 346 is a major policy win for the ACC-OC, California stakeholders and the efforts by cities to bring more housing assets online. The law will take effect on January 1, 2018. “We thank Governor Brown and the Legislature for their work on AB 346 and applaud ACC-OC for taking such a proactive role in the bill’s passage,” said Espinoza.

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